Blood is the source of human life. It holds the key to human DNA and is often the foundation for evidence when diagnosing and treating a patient. The medical professionals responsible for drawing and collecting this precious liquid are called phlebotomists and they are a critical component to any healthcare team.
If you faint at the sight of blood or get squeamish thinking about pricking an arm this is probably not the best career for you. But if you are on the other side of the fence, check out this invaluable information on how a certificate in phlebotomy could jumpstart your career.
What is a phlebotomist?
A phlebotomist is a specialized medical assistant that collects blood and other tissue samples to be used for analysis by laboratory workers. In some cases, a laboratory technician can be certified as a phlebotomist and can then perform both functions. Other typical responsibilities on the technical side include containment and disposal of hazardous equipment, documentation of records and management of timed collections.
Beyond the blood
Although you may not have an issue with blood, many patients do. People will come up with a host of excuses to avoid getting stuck with a needle or having their blood drawn. For some patients they are “afraid of catching a disease” for others they are just too busy.
Whatever the excuse of the day is they are mitigating, a critical part of the phlebotomist’s responsibilities lies in soft skills including the ability to calm a patient and walk them through the procedure with thoughtfulness and care. A good phlebotomist can balance the pressures of working in the fast-paced medical environment yet still emit a calm demeanor that will help to ease the patient’s experience.
Typical traits of a phlebotomist include a desire to help people, close attention to detail and the ability to multitask and work under stress says Tammy Renner, national MLT program coordinator for Rasmussen College.
If your friends and family have always commented on your amazing ability to bring a sense of calm to the room, a career in phlebotomy may just be the perfect option for you!
As with many medical careers, most states require phlebotomists to hold a license from the state in which the person practices. There are three major nationally-recognized institutions that provide certification after passing an examination of competence and an appropriate training program: the American Society for Clinical Pathology, the National Phlebotomy Association and the American Medical Technologists.
There is not one nationally-recognized organization so utilization of these varies by state.
These certification programs also include requirements for lecture and experience hours which are contained in the curriculum of accredited programs. Though academic credentials are not a requirement for individuals to get certified, it can help increase a student’s chances for hire, says Renner.
Though the national economy is slowly recovering, the difference between getting a job offer versus a rejection letter can come from distinguishing yourself in your resume. Anything you can do to highlight your skill set and distance yourself from your competition will be to your advantage.
The Rasmussen College program in particular combines training for phlebotomy with laboratory processing to further the student’s skill set and increase their chances to be hired, says Renner.
Phlebotomist career outlook
Demand for phlebotomists is on the rise. In fact, an analysis of healthcare jobs over the past year revealed almost 6,000 vacant positions for phlebotomists. In addition, the field is expected to grow as much as 19 percent through 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Is a career in phlebotomy right for you?
Feeling energized by the thought of being part of an in-demand career in a growing industry? Check out Rasmussen College’s Healthcare Career Outlook to learn more about planning a future in health sciences.